The Benefits of Insulated Patio Roofing

 

Want to enjoy your outdoor living lifestyle all year round? Designed to keep your patio warm in winter and cool in summer, Altec’s insulated roofing works by creating a barrier between your patio and the elements. It can block the icy bite of a cold breeze, and keep intense heat at bay on hot days.

If you’re not convinced you really need insulated roofing, don’t make up your mind until you know all the benefits.

 

Easy Climate Control

It might be known as a tropical paradise, but South East Queensland isn’t immune to less-than-ideal weather conditions. From relentless heatwaves to sudden cold snaps, this part of the Sunshine State is prone to extreme weather events.

Insulated roofing acts like a force field against bad weather, so you don’t have to go running indoors at the first sign of extreme temperatures.

 

Energy Savings

If you never seem to turn off your outdoor area’s overhead fan during summer, insulating your patio’s roof could make a huge difference to your power bills. The same goes for using portable heaters during winter; rather than relying on electricity-guzzling appliances to keep your outdoor area at a comfortable temperature, insulated roofing is designed to do the heavy lifting for you.
With skyrocketing energy costs to contend with, covering up your outdoor area with an insulated roof is a cost-effective way to knock a few hundred dollars off your next power bill.

 

Termite Protection

A termite infestation is every homeowner’s worst nightmare. Depending on how far the infestation has spread, getting rid of these pesky critters can be expensive. You may have to relocate while the extermination process takes place, or even rebuild parts of your home.

To safeguard your house against pests, Altec uses ant- and termite-resistant insulation. Installing this type of insulation will add an extra layer of protection to your home, so you can have peace of mind knowing tiny bugs aren’t eating through your property’s foundations.

 

The Aesthetic

An insulated roof can work wonders for the look of your outdoor area, in addition to making it more comfortable. Altec’s insulated roofing comes in a range of colours and finishes, allowing you to easily find a style that blends in with your home’s exterior.

If you’d like to learn more about Altec’s insulated roofing options, get in touch with our team today. Whether you’re thinking of adding a roof to an existing patio or you’re building a brand new outdoor area, Altec can help you choose the perfect roofing solution.

 

Altec at the Brisbane Home Show

 
If you’re planning an outdoor renovation project, be sure to visit Altec at this year’s Brisbane Home Show. You can see our state-of-the-art designs and talk to our experienced team about building your very own custom outdoor enclosure. No matter what kind of structure you’re thinking of adding to your property, Altec can offer expert advice on a wide range of outdoor solutions, including carports, patios, decks and privacy screens.
  
The 2018 Brisbane Home Show will be held 23 - 25 February at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre. Open from 9am – 5pm daily, it’s the ultimate event for anyone in search of inspiration for a home renovation.
  
As one of South East Queensland’s most trusted suppliers of outdoor structures, Altec knows what it takes to withstand tough weather conditions. We can help you choose the right type of enclosure based on the shape and size of your property, its exposure to the elements and the kind of aesthetic you’re trying to create.
  
If you’re not sure where to begin when it comes to building or renovating an outdoor area, Altec can bring your ideas to life. We specialise in creating spaces that transition seamlessly between indoor and outdoor areas, ensuring any new structure we build blends in with your home’s existing design features.
  
When it comes to renovating the outside of your home, speaking with a professional is the best way to ensure a stress-free build. Whether you’re looking to lock down a colour scheme or you’re having trouble deciding which materials to use, our expert design consultants can make sure you get every detail right.
  
Don’t wait any longer to start living your dream alfresco lifestyle - book your tickets to the Brisbane Home Show online today.
 

How to Clean Outdoor Blinds

 

How to Clean Outdoor Blinds

South East Queensland is notorious for its humid summer weather. If your outdoor blinds are starting to look a little grimy after months of weathering these steamy conditions, we can help you whip them into shape with some simple yet effective cleaning tips. Washing your outdoor blinds may not sound like the most fun job, but the longer you put it off, the more dirt you’ll have to deal with. Best bite the bullet now before all that dust and grime becomes a permanent fixture!
 
 
Here’s how to freshen up your outdoor blinds without breaking a sweat:
 
 

Do Some Dust Busting

Before deep cleaning your blinds with soap and water, clear away any loose dust and debris with a soft brush. Be sure to clean the underside of your blinds as well as the outer facing side. If your blinds are made out of a fabric material, try to get rid of any wildlife droppings, tree sap and leaves as quickly as possible to avoid permanent discolouration. Nothing can bring down the visual appeal of your home’s exterior quite like bird poo stains.
 
If you don’t own a soft brush, any old sock or microfiber cloth should do the trick. Don’t resort to using a brush with spiky thistles as this could leave permanent scratches all over your blinds.
  

Choose the Right Cleaning Equipment

Once you’re done clearing away loose dust and debris, you can get to work on more stubborn stains. Consider the type of material your blinds are made out of before investing in cleaning equipment. Plastic and aluminium blinds can handle most mild soaps, but try to avoid using harsh chemicals like undiluted bleach.
 
Wooden blinds are slightly more susceptible to damage – when soaked with water, they can swell up and get stuck. This is why it’s important to always proceed with caution if you’re working with timber. Instead of going wild with your outdoor hose, simply wipe your blinds down with a damp cloth.
 
Not keen on using harsh soaps? Dishwashing liquid and watered down vinegar are both effective yet gentle cleaning agents. Just to be on the safe side, always wear gloves if you plan to use any chemicals during the cleaning process.
  

Post-Cleaning Precautions

Once you’ve got your blinds looking brand new again, let the material dry out properly. Fabric blinds can become a breeding ground for mould and mildew when exposed to damp conditions. To avoid undoing all your hard work, make sure your blinds are bone dry before rolling them back up. You can speed up the drying process by wiping away excess moisture with a towel.
 
 
Of course, no matter how hard you scrub, outdoor blinds that have been neglected for years can be impossible to get completely clean. If your outdoor blinds are too far gone to save, why not treat yourself to some new ones? Get in touch with Altec to enquire about installing outdoor blinds.
 
 

Summer BBQ Recipes

 

From grilled steak to charred veggies, you can create all kinds of tasty treats with a BBQ. Don’t have a tonne of confidence in your barbequing abilities? Alfresco cooking is easier than it looks – to get you started, these are some of our favourite summer BBQ recipes.

 

bbq

1. Black & Blushing Worcestershire Fillet

Created by celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, this recipe adds a gourmet twist to classic grilled steak.

Ingredients:

  A piece of fillet steak

  2 generous teaspoons of French mustard

 8-10 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

  A drizzle of extra virgin olive oil

  2 sprigs of fresh rosemary

  Unsalted butter.

Method

Excluding the unsalted butter, place all your ingredients in a large sandwich bag (finely chop the sprigs of rosemary first). Squeeze all the air out of the bag, close it securely and place it in the fridge.

Leave your steak to marinate for at least a few nights (preferably overnight).

Around 1 ½ hours before you’re ready to start grilling your steak, place it in a cool part of your kitchen so it warms up to room temperature (be careful not to leave it out too long).

Preheat your BBQ. While you’re waiting for it to get hot, remove the fillet from the marinade and pat it down with a paper towel.

Place the steak onto the hottest part of your BBQ for around 8 – 10 minutes (flip the fillet over around every minute or so). Add as much butter as you need to keep it looking juicy.

If your steak ends up looking a little burnt on the outside, don’t panic – it’s supposed to look like that. The crispiness will contrast nicely with the juiciness of the meat.

 

Chicken

2. BBQ Grilled Chicken Wings

The Little Kitchen have come up with a simple yet tasty method for grilling chicken wings.

Ingredients

 15 bone-in chicken wings

 Vegetable oil

 Barbecue sauce.

Method

Rinse the chicken wings and wipe completely dry with paper towels.

Line a baking tray with foil.

Brush the grates of your BBQ with vegetable oil (you can use a paper towel and tongs to do this).

Place the chicken wings onto the grill. After 4 minutes, flip them over and brush the grilled side with BBQ sauce.

After 3 minutes, flip them over again and brush the other side with BBQ sauce.

Allow the chicken wings to cool for 5 – 10 minutes before eating.

 

Cheesy Corn

3. Cheesy Corn on the Cob

Vegetarians will love this slightly indulgent version of corn on the cob from BBC Good Food.

Ingredients

4 corn cobs

30g melted butter

30g finely grated parmesan.

Method

Bring a saucepan of salted water to the boil. Cook the corn cobs until they’re tender (around 5 minutes).

Season the corn with your favourite spices (paprika, cayenne pepper and salt all taste delicious with corn).

Place the corn on a preheated BBQ and cook for around 5 minutes, or until the kernels start to blister. Turn the cobs regularly to cook them evenly all over.

Take the corn off the grill. Before they cool down, brush them with a generous amount of butter and sprinkle with parmesan.

 

Whether you’ve got a spacious deck or a cosy porch, these recipes are suited to all kinds of alfresco kitchens. Don’t have an outdoor area for BBQing? Alec can help you build one! Book a consultation today.

 

Decorating Your Outdoor Area for Christmas

Decorating Your Outdoor Area for Christmas

Christmas is just around the corner and it’s time to dust off your decorations and start prepping your home for the holidays. To make the outside of your house look extra festive this year, Altec can help you bring a touch of Christmas cheer to your patio.

Whether you’re planning to go wild with Christmas lights or you want to create a more subtle effect, get the look you want with these outdoor decorating tips:

 

Gym 

Get Creative with Christmas Lights

There’s nothing wrong with adding a few fairy lights to your patio and calling it a day – but if you really want to make your home stand out, don’t be afraid to get creative with your Christmas lighting scheme.

Here are some cool things you can do with Christmas lights in your outdoor area:

• Wrap foliage in fairy lights – From towering trees to tiny pot plants, any type of greenery will look festive once it’s been bound with twinkling fairy lights.

• Highlight windows and doors – Tracing the outside edges of windows and doors in rope lights will make your home look like a glowing gingerbread house.

• Hang glowing wreaths – Make your Christmas wreath look even more festive by fitting it with a few fairy lights.

To keep your patio free of electrical hazards, always check the Christmas lights you’re planning to install on your patio are suitable for outdoor use. Read the instruction manual carefully and make sure none of your electrical leads are damaged.

 

Gym 

Create Ambience with Christmas Candles

If you prefer a soft glow to flashing fairy lights, give your outdoor area a beautifully festive vibe by placing a few candles around your patio. Keep in mind candles can create a fire hazard when left unattended, and you should always extinguish them before heading indoors.

Create the perfect setting for an alfresco Christmas dinner by placing clusters of chunky candles on and around your outdoor dining table. Securing your candles inside cylinder shaped glass vases will make them harder to knock over, minimising the risk of fire damage.

 

Gym 

Embellish Store-Bought Decorations

Not much of a DIYer? If you still want to add personal details to your outdoor Christmas decorations, simply alter store-bought items. Add a few homemade details to your wreath by decorating it with foliage from your own garden, or tie old ribbons around store-bought reindeer figurines.

Rather than trying to become a master of Christmas arts and crafts overnight, these simple embellishments can save you tons of time and effort.

Once you’ve got your outdoor Christmas decorations set up, you can start celebrating the festive season in style. Of course, Christmastime in South East Queensland can get pretty hot and humid. To keep you outdoor area cool this Christmas, we can offer handy tips on shielding your patio from soaring temperatures in our blog post on Technology to Improve Your Outdoor Living.

 

How to Prepare Your Patio for Storm Season

 

From hail to high winds, storm season in South East Queensland brings all kinds of dangerous conditions – but there are steps you can take to protect your patio against the volatile climate. The trick is to start preparing now, so you’re as ready as you can be for any wild weather headed your way.
Here’s how to prepare your patio for storm season.

 

Dodge Hail Damage

Hail storms can appear out of nowhere during summer, battering entire suburbs in a matter of minutes. Planning for this type of weather event can mean the difference between paying for major repairs and escaping unscathed.

While it’s almost impossible to completely safeguard your patio against severe hailstorms, getting ready ahead of time can help minimise the damage. This is especially important if you’re relying on your outdoor structure to protect your car and other possessions from hail.

The following tips can help you avoid hail damage:

  Maintain your roof – Minor defects in a patio’s roof can make the entire structure more susceptible to hail damage. Even if everything looks to be in working order, arranging for a professional patio builder to do an inspection is the only way to know for sure that you’re really ready for storm season.

  Choose the right roofing materials – If you’re thinking of adding an outdoor structure to your home, try to use materials that can withstand Queensland’s climate. The roofing materials available at Altec are designed to endure storm season in the South East.

  Keep the space enclosed – If your patio has windows, screens, shutters or sliding doors, keeping these shut during storms can prevent the structure’s interior from sustaining hail damage.

 

 Get Rid of Clutter

Is your patio is looking a little messy? Be sure to do some spring cleaning before storm season arrives. Get rid of old pot plants, throw away any unused furniture and store decorative items out of the way. Not only do you get to enjoy a more open space when the weather is nice, but securing loose items is one of the essential storm-readiness tasks on every checklist, so you can tick that one off straight away.

 

Tame Your Trees

Keep your patio intact over the storm season by attending to any trees around your yard that might have gone a bit over the top with their growth during the year. For large branches, be sure to get a professional tree lopper in – the last thing you want is to attempt to take them down yourself and end up with branches falling on your patio anyway! Smaller branches can be tackled with a hedge trimmer or a hand saw. Yearly maintenance of your trees doesn’t only help by removing limbs that can potentially come off during storms, it can also help reduce the amount of leaves that end up in your gutters year-round. And that’s a win for every season!

Of course, hail, rain, wind and hail aren’t the only things you need to consider during storm season. Temperatures can soar at this time of year, making your patio feel more like an oven than a breezy outdoor haven. To beat the heat, check out our tips on preparing your patio for summer.

 

Spring Cleaning - Getting Your Outdoor Area Ready for Spring

 

Now that winter is done and dusted for another year, it’s time to start getting your outdoor area ready for spring. After months of enduring damp weather and less frequent use, your patio or deck may be looking a little worse for wear – but giving it a quick makeover doesn’t have to be a daunting task. Here’s how to make spring-cleaning your outdoor area as painless as possible.

 

De-Grime the Floor

Dust and dirt can build up in your outdoor spaces over winter, especially if you live near the beach or in a busy urban area. Getting rid of this layer of grime as soon as the weather starts warming up is essential to making the most of your patio during spring.
 
Begin by clearing all your outdoor furniture out of the way. Sweep up any dead leaves and neglected pot plants, and then mop the floor using a gentle detergent. You might need to bring in a gurney to get rid of the worst of the grime. Make sure the cleaning products you’re planning to use won’t damage your patio’s flooring materials by checking labels and spot-testing prior to use.

 

Wash Wooden Furniture

Scrubbing wooden furniture with a soft brush and mild soap can remove any mildew that may have set in over winter (add bleach or vinegar to shift stubborn stains). Once you’re done, wiping a generous layer of wood polish over each piece of furniture can help add extra shine. To prevent your hard work from going to waste, make sure you allow the wood polish to dry completely before placing it outdoors again.

 

Freshen Up Outdoor Cushions

Forgot to bring your cushions indoors during winter? Everyone loves a good cushion in their outdoor area, but these decorative features don’t fare so well in cold and damp conditions. To banish the last of those drab winter tones, putting any mouldy cushions through the wash can make a huge difference to the appearance of your patio.
 
If winter has done serious damage to your cushions and they’re too far gone to save, give your patio an instant makeover by buying some new ones. Scattering cushions with pretty patterns and bright colours around your outdoor area is a great way to welcome the arrival of spring.

 

Make Time for Repairs

Whether your patio came off second best in a bad winter storm or is simply starting to show signs of wear and tear, this is the perfect time of year to do repairs. From minor adjustments to complete structural overhauls, repairing faults can make sure your space is both comfortable to entertain in and strong enough to withstand the upcoming storm season.
 
Now that you know how to prepare your patio for the arrival of alfresco living season, check out our gardening tips for spring.

 

Technology to Improve Your Outdoor Living

 

Technology can take your outdoor area to a whole new level. The right products can change your outdoor lifestyle for the better, from keeping cool to staying connected. Here are our favourite tech tips for keeping your patio cool and enjoying your time outdoors.

 

Fans

This might not sound like the most high-tech feature, but don’t underestimate the power of a good fan. Lots of fan units are designed especially for use in outdoor areas, so you can enjoy a breeze on your patio even at the height of summer.

Not sure how to spot a good outdoor fan? Be sure to keep an eye out for weather-resistant designs. The blades should be made from durable materials like timber, or UV-resistant plastic. Your fan’s motor should also be sealed against moisture, so it doesn’t conk out on humid days.

 

Evaporative Coolers

Unlike most normal air-conditioning systems, evaporative coolers can be effective in outdoor areas (as long as the space you’re trying to cool isn’t too large). Have you ever noticed that the temperature tends to drop near large bodies of water like the ocean? That’s because water evaporates heat from the air. Evaporative coolers work in a similar way. Hot air enters the unit where it is filtered through cooling pads, before being released in a stream of cool air.

They might not create the same fridge-like effect as typical air-conditioner, but an evaporative cooler can still make heatwaves more bearable.

 

Misting Systems

Rather than staying cooped up inside all summer, a misting system can help you beat the heat outdoors. By showering your patio in a light cloud of water, a good misting system offers sweet relief from soaring temperatures without causing water damage.

You can get a portable misting system, or install a system in the roof of your patio.

 

Strong Wi-Fi

If you’re trying to enhance your patio with technology, a good Wi-Fi signal is essential. Whether you want to catch up on Netflix in a cool outdoor setting or stream your favourite songs while eating alfresco, having a patio with internet access can come in handy. But if your outdoor area is situated too far away from your modem, the signal might be patchy.

You don’t need any complicated gadgets to connect your outdoor area – simply use a Wi-Fi range extender. This device can ensure your patio always has access to the internet.

And, of course, you can personalise your area as much as you want. From outdoor stereo systems to fun lighting, there are heaps of ways you can tech-up your outdoor living area to make it the place to be this summer.

 

Natural Shields for Your Patio

 

Is your patio lacking in privacy? It can be tricky to shield your outdoor area from nosy neighbours without creating a closed-off effect. Rather than going overboard with building materials, greenery offers a flexible solution for adding privacy to your patio. You can plant a hedge, install a vertical garden bed or go wild with pot plants – when it comes to creating natural shields, the possibilities are endless.

Here are some suggestions to get you started:

 

Hedges

Hedges

You don’t need to be an expert landscaper to grow a hedge from the ground up. Whether you want to block off a small section of your patio or your entire outdoor area, a neatly manicured hedge is the perfect decorative feature for enhancing privacy.

To grow your own hedge, you’ll need the following supplies:

  A suitable hedge plant (Blueberry Ash and Lilly Pilly are both suited to Queensland’s climate)

  Quality garden mix (don’t just use the soil from your garden)

  Mulch

  Compost

  A shovel

  Secateurs

Begin by digging the holes for your hedge. Most hedges should be planted at a depth of around 35cm. Keep in mind that the closer you dig the holes, the faster your hedge will form. After throwing a handful of compost in each hole, you can plant your hedge (be sure to compress the dirt around each plant tightly to prevent air bubbles forming). Sprinkle some mulch on top of each plant and give them a good watering.

Within a few weeks, your hedge should be getting nice and dense. Ask your local nursery how often you should water your hedges, as some plants are thirstier than others.

 

 

Bamboo Screens

Bamboo Screens

Bamboo screens aren’t just an effective privacy enhancer – they can also add an exotic touch to your yard. Hardwearing and weather resistant, bamboo can withstand everything from pouring rain to blazing sunshine. If you want to build a privacy screen that blends in seamlessly with the rest of your yard, the natural colour and texture of bamboo make this plant a versatile option.

You can use wood strips, metal brackets, or even zip ties to attach your bamboo screen to your patio. Just make sure the bamboo has been coated in a waterproof stain before you start building.

 

 

Statement Pot Plans

Statement Pot Plants

Looking for a more temporary solution to your lack of privacy? Scatter some large pot plants around your patio to make it feel like a shady sanctuary. If you ever want to open up your space to the outside world, you can simply move the pot plants out of the way.

Vertical gardens can also be used as privacy screens, and require minimal maintenance. Climbing plants tend to grow quite quickly, so you can start enjoying more privacy within weeks of planting your vertical garden.

If you’re not much of a gardener, there are plenty of other ways to shield your patio. To enjoy permanent privacy in your outdoor area, check out Altec’s range of privacy and weather screens.

 

Best Boating Spots in South East Queensland

 

South East Queensland is a boat owner’s paradise. With beautiful beaches and rivers in every direction, deciding where to hit the water can be quite the dilemma. If you need help finding the perfect boating spot, check out these destinations.

 

Wave Break Island, Gold Coast

Popular with the Gold Coast’s local fishing community, Wave Break Island is home to 2 designated boat anchorages, colourful coral reefs and an abundance of marine life. This snorkeling and fishing hot spot may be a treasure trove of natural beauty, but it’s actually manmade. Built in 1985, it protects the region’s local estuaries from getting battered by large waves.

If you plan to do some fishing, the sandbank on the western side of Wave Break Island is a great place to snap up some baitfish.

 

Lake McDonald, Sunshine Coast

If it’s too breezy to go boating on the ocean, Lake McDonald is a tranquil, freshwater alternative. Situated near Noosa on the Sunshine Coast, only electric and non-powered boats are allowed on the lake. A haven for sailing and row boats, this quiet spot is ideal leisurely days out on the water.

 

The Tangalooma Wrecks, Moreton Island

Found just off Morton Island, this cluster of shipwrecks is a magnet for boating enthusiasts. Cruising around Moreton Bay is always a pleasant experience, but the Tangalooma wrecks are extra special. Located on the western side of the island, the site consists of 15 sunken vessels. The ships were sunk deliberately to make a breakwall for smaller vessels, and can easily be spotted just below the surface.

Surrounded by shallow water, the Tangalooma wrecks are best suited to small boats and slow cruising speeds. Be sure to go ashore and explore the island before heading back to the mainland.

 

Caboolture River, Caboolture

Stretching from the northern end or Moreton Bay past Bribie Island, the Caboolture River is long and winding. It flows into narrow side creeks, which smaller boats can explore at high tide. Hidden amongst Brisbane’s northern suburbs and the Bruce Highway, the river offers an escape from the surrounding urban sprawl.

Quiet and picturesque, the Caboolture River is worth a visit if you’re looking for an uncrowded waterway that’s easy to navigate.

 

Brisbane River

To see Queensland’s largest city from a different perspective, go boating on the Brisbane River. Whether you’re in a canoe or a luxury yacht, exploring the Brisbane River is an essential SEQ experience for boat owners.

There are plenty of boat ramps and pontoons scattered along the length of the river, so it’s relatively easy to access. Once on the water, you can cruise past landmarks like the Kangaroo Point Cliffs, the Story Bridge and the city’s glittering skyline.

 

Best Boat Fishing Spots

Of course, in order to enjoy all these boating spots, you’ll need to keep your vessel in good condition. While it’s important to keep an eye on the forecast before embarking on a boating expedition, your boat is still vulnerable to bad weather when it’s on dry land.

Get in touch with Altec to have a custom boat shelter installed on your property. Using materials that blend in seamlessly with your home, we can design structures for boats of all sizes. Sturdy and weather-resistant, our boat ports are built to withstand Queensland’s unpredictable climate. If you’re not sure whether your yard has enough room for a boat port, book a free design consultation today.

 

Altec are Brisbane's leading Patio & Carport Designers and Builders.

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